Notes from the past…

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Looking for published family histories?

How about ones that are 100 years old or more? Want to be able to read them online? For free? For real?

See anything that interests you?


(click on above image for better view)

The above screenshot is from The Open Library, “One web page for every book ever published. It’s a lofty, but achievable, goal.

To build it, we need hundreds of millions of book records, a brand new database infrastructure for handling huge amounts of dynamic information, a wiki interface, multi-language support, and people who are willing to contribute their time, effort, and book data.

To date, we have gathered about 30 million records (20 million are available through the site now), and more are on the way. We have built the database infrastructure and the wiki interface, and you can search millions of book records, narrow results by facet, and search across the full text of 1 million scanned books.

Open Library is a project of the non-profit Internet Archive, and is funded in part by a grant from the California State Library. We have a small team of fantastic programmers who have accomplished a lot, but we can’t do it alone! This is an Open project – the software is open, the data is open, the documentation is open, and the site is open.”

I just entered the search term “family history” and got back 1946 books that are available in their original form to read online! For free!

Here is the History of the Loutzenheiser Family, published in 1894:


This particular book is 39 pages long.

How about something written about the Stanleys, one of my surnames. (I haven’t read through this, yet, so I don’t know if my Stanleys are discussed.)

The history of the house of Stanley, from the conquest, to the death of the Right Honorable Edward, late earl of Derby, in 1776, printed in 1793:


I don’t know about you, but I know what I’ll be doing this evening… :)

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Surname Saturday: McBurnett

Scottish: patronymic formation (with Gaelic mac ‘son’), apparently from the Anglo-Norman surname Burnett ‘little brown-haired one’. More probably, it may be an altered form of McBurney.

Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4

McBurnett COA

The above was obtained from eddenney152′s community page on

My McBurnett line goes back to Daniel McBurnett, who fought in the Revolutionary War and died in 1793 while serving as the wagoneer for a family traveling to Florida. He was killed when Indians attacked the wagon. The last of my McBurnett ancestors was my fraternal great-grandmother Dovie C McBurnett (1890-1969).